Justice Robin Camp, the judge who asked a woman during an Alberta rape trial why she couldn’t just keep her knees together, should be removed from the bench, according to a unanimous recommendation from the Canadian Judicial Council’s committee of inquiry.
The committee “found that Justice Camp committed misconduct while presiding over the trial,” the council said in a release issued Wednesday morning.
The inquiry into Camp’s handling of the original trial heard a week of evidence in September, including testimony from the complainant in the rape trial.
“He made me hate myself,” said the young woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban.
The inquiry heard how Camp asked her several questions during that trial that he later apologized for.
Camp implied during the trial that the complainant — who was allegedly raped on a bathroom sink — could have prevented the attack by “sinking her bottom down into the basin.”
Camp also mistakenly referred to her as “the accused” on several occasions during the trial and stated that “sometimes sex and pain go together.”
The inquiry report concluded that, throughout that trial, “Justice Camp made comments or asked questions evidencing an antipathy towards laws designed to protect vulnerable witnesses, promote equality, and bring integrity to sexual assault trials.”
“We also find that the judge relied on discredited myths and stereotypes about women and victim-blaming during the trial and in his reasons for judgment,”
The inquiry committee — composed of five Superior Court judges and senior lawyers — concluded Camp’s apologies and “significant efforts” to improve his understanding of sexual assault law after the fact were not enough to justify keeping him on the bench.
The council will now consider the committee’s report, after giving Camp an opportunity to make written submissions, and then decide on a formal recommendation to make to the federal justice minister.
Previously, only two judges have been recommended for removal by the Canadian Judicial Council since the review body was created in 1971.
In both those cases, the judges resigned before the recommendations made it to Parliament, which ultimately decides whether or not to dismiss a Canadian judge.
Camp was a provincial court judge at the time of the rape trial in Alberta but was later promoted to the Federal Court.